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Past Exhibitions

In making art, the term emergent design describes the marriage of planning and chance to achieve a specific creative result.  In nature, it can describe the random event of: a spilled liquid, striping of a zebra or tiger, a pattern of peeling paint, or a style of a doodle.  Each case is a random-looking design, unique, and yet identifiable.

While sharing the same emergent process passions, each of these three artists has a uniquely different style.  Scott plans his direction with an initial appearance of measured calculation.  Each of his large single shapes is made from five sides.  Each side is determined by a unit of length that is a single-digit prime number: 1,2,3,5, and 7. His shape content begins with one side of the 5-sided shape set as a base starting point.  This yields 120 combinations of prime number sequences: 12357, 13572, 15723, and so on.  At this point in the design, a sequence is selected from the 120 basic possibilities - the measured calculation stops and the role of chance and emergent process begins. Each of those 120 number-sequence-prime shapes can then be squeezed or stretched in many different ways to further manipulate a different 5-sided shape.  Then each shape will change by: the materials used, the treatment used, the composing of shapes in combinations, using the shape itself or incorporating it in traditional formats, and employing countless other treatments.  Essentially, the work is about how humans begin operating under the illusion of controlling the situation, only to have the emergent variables and process of life create a unique surprise.

Rachel plans her work from the point of choosing formats of circles or a 4-sided format. Her preferred surfaces are specially treated glass, colored papers or wood surfaces. She also prefers a smaller, more intimate size.  Her mark-making materials are primarily wax-based colored pencils, sealed in a matte varnish, with an appearance of graphite and ink on the sometimes two-sided works on glass that are seen only from one side.  From this initial prescription, Rachel then leaves all calculation aside and taps her affective resources.  On glass she creates a clear structure of line direction and brush strokes from a free-style application of the acrylic polymer medium coating onto the glass surface.  She assesses the dried result and creates additional structural decisions from incising into the clear medium surface,   exposing lines of bare glass as a result.  Colored pencil is applied next - most often as irregular flat shapes, plugging in one color, overall, at a time.  At any point during this process, graphite or ink lines may or may not be included.  At the end, the surface is sealed.  The back of the glass works sometimes are covered in a single acrylic color that can be seen from the front.  This results in variations of a theme based on the personal beauty of her own emergent choices in pure color and shape.

Mariana’s emergent shapes are presented in the traditional materials and process of mosaic on wood, and, in colored pencil on 4-ply mat board.  Her preferred professional medium is mosaic treated as unique fine art works.  Trained in the U.S., Brazil, Argentina and Italy, she respects the tradition of the centuries-old mosaic craft but takes it into new emergent compositions of shapes that are based upon abstracted patterns found nature.  Her sources of inspiration in nature are strong in the microscopic cellular structures of living things, the amazing patterns of minerals native to Brazil, and the Youghiogheny colored glass she takes home to Rio after every visit to Pittsburgh.  In general, mosaics can be very detailed, as can be seen from ancient Roman examples.  However, Mariana prefers slightly larger shapes that permit her to create a more abstract essence.  Glass, ceramic, stone and grout all provide a wide variety of subtle plays in color and surface quality in these one-of-a-kind art works. 

R. Scott Lloyd - Rachel Lloyd - Mariana Lloyd

Emergent Shapes

Paintings - Mosaics - Mixed Media

March 21 - May 10, 2015

BACK TO THE BEGINNING - Rachel Lloyd  © 2015

MATRIX - Mariana Lloyd  © 2014

PRIME SIDED SHAPE #21 - R. Scott Lloyd  © 2014

Laurie Longenecker

2015 Artist of the Pike

The Half Time Show

May 16 - July 19, 2015

    In conjunction with the National Road Festival, the Frank L. Melega Art Museum presents 2015 Artist of the Pike exhibition by painter Laurie Longenecker titled “The Half Time Show”. The paintings in the show are larger than life portraits of fans of Pittsburgh sports teams. The title refers to the number of paintings in the show. The 11 paintings exhibited in the show are the first half of a planned series of 22. The diverse faces of Penguin, Pirate and Steeler fans come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and levels of income. The paintings show that when you’re a Pittsburgh sports fan none of these things matter. This was the first thing Laurie Longenecker, fine art painter and award winning graphic designer, noticed when moving back to Pittsburgh after many years living away in California. “It seems to be the glue that holds the city together in so many ways”, she says. “My paintings of the fans are in celebration of one of the many magic things about Pittsburgh and the greater Pittsburgh area.“

  A featured artwork created specially for the exhibit is the poster titled “Brownsville”. It depicts some of the noteworthy features of the city including the First Cast Iron Bridge, Nemacolin Castle, St. Peters, and the historic Flatiron Building (home of the Frank L. Melega Art Museum). The poster is on display with five other Longenecker poster designs depicting the uniqueness of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

    In 2014, Laurie Longenecker was the recipient of the Best of Show Award at the National Road Festival Juried Exhibition. The Best of Show recipient is also asked to be the following year’s “Artist of the Pike”. It is our great pleasure that Ms. Longenecker has accepted our invitation.

Mae, Laurie Longenecker, and Simon


C. Chisholm Cohen - Mara Light

In Memoriam Jerome “Jerry” Melega

November 1 - December 13

“Surface – Emergence – Explosive” three words representing three artists, Mara Light, C. Chisholm Cohen, and the late Jerome “Jerry” Melega, in a new exhibition at the Frank L. Melega Art Museum. 

Part of the exhibition is a very special installation in memoriam of Frank L. Melega’s younger son Jerry who passed away at the age of 77, September 12th this year. The display features two paintings by Jerry, four portraits of Jerry by his father, plus memorabilia from an amazing career as a world-renowned jazz pianist. Jerry Melega played with many of the greats of music. He was a member of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Tommy Dorsey, and Woody Herman’s Thundering Herd. In Las Vegas, Jerry accompanied Frank Sinatra and his infamous “Rat Pack”. “Downbeat Magazine” named him one of the top ten jazz pianists.

The exhibition is completed by two very different and yet in some ways very similar painters, C. Chisholm Cohen and Mara Light. Both painters create powerful and engaging artworks although one is abstract and the other includes representational images. Each artist was asked to choose one word to represent their artworks in the exhibition (Jerry Melega’s word was chosen by his brother Frank). The result was the show’s title “Surface-Emergence-Explosive”. Visitors can speculate as to which word represents which artist.

C. Chisholm Cohen is a painter of deep passion and emotion. She uses thick bold paint, abstract and expressionistic, applying strong colors with brush and palette knife. Each painting has a title that evokes the viewer to consider the meaning suggested by the artist.  “Carol is one of the best contemporary abstract painters. Her art is brimming with energy, feeling, and a sophistication rarely seen in today’s painters,” said Patrick Daugherty, Melega Art Museum director. The artist, a member of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, started painting at age fourteen but became a full time painter later in life.

The political content in her art has its roots in the 1960’s. The subjects of her paintings often reflect the issues confronting the world today. Cohen describes her painting in this way, “Colors have their own voices and when I have a theme such as the ‘60s the colors used with a palette knife tells a story and hopefully elicits the same feelings that I put on canvas.”

Mara Light combines realistic figures and objects with richly layered abstract elements creating paintings of pure visual delight. “I want the painting surface to be full of life, and have developed a layering technique that includes texture, paint, and collage to form an underlying structure. These elements combine to generate the setting for the model or subject. Repetitive layering and painting continue until I feel that a sense of harmony is present between these physical components and the evocative aspects of the subject that is being depicted’” states the artist. Mara’s work is in demand internationally. A number of Mara’s paintings can be seen at her website http://maralight. Various galleries in California, the Southwest, and Saatchi Art Online represent her.

Mara says that her greatest hope is to continue to produce art that connects with people and stimulates ideas. Her paintings at the Melega will undoubtedly achieve that goal.

High School Artwork by Jerry Melega

C. Chisholm Cohen                       Incoming

C. Chisholm Cohen                                      Rooftops of Jodphur

C. Chisholm Cohen                                            He Put Out The Fire

Jerry Melega                                       2006

Frank L. Melega                Our Son Jerry

Mara Light                                    Passage

Mara Light                                                     Peaches

Mara Light                                                        Gazing

1999    2000    2001    2002    2003    2004    2005    2006   2007    2008    2009    2010   2011    2012    2013    2014

2015    2016